Do pansies need blood meal, or is there a special fertilizer for them?
Pansies need rich, moist, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. A single application of compost or a slow-acting general-purpose fertilizer before planting will suffice for the season.
Last 7 Days
How can I get rid of the moss in my lawn?
Moss in lawns is a common problem in many parts of the country, especially in places with heavy rainfall or in years with above-average rainfall. In the short term, you can rake out the moss, then plant grass seed in any bare patches that may result. When you first see moss growing, treat the area with ferrous sulfate or ammonium sulfate according to the package directions. There are also some soap-based products to control moss. To prevent moss, water deeply and infrequently. Dry soil will create unfavorable conditions for moss and will encourage grass roots to grow deep into the soil. If your soil is compacted, is in the shade, or has low fertility, you'll probably have a chronic moss problem. Change these conditions for long-term moss management. Low soil pH also can encourage moss growth. Check your soil's pH level and resist the urge to overfertilize your lawn.
Last spring I had onion plants turn yellow and when I pulled a few up, they were infested with maggots! How can I prevent this?
Cover your emerging onion crop with a fine mesh netting. Seal it by mounding soil around the edges. The onion maggot likes to lay its eggs at the base of plants, so the netting should prevent that. You should also keep mulch away because the insects like decaying organic matter, and make sure you completely harvest your onions as the season progresses. Onion maggots are usually a problem in very rainy periods, so these precautions may be unnecessary if you have a dry season.
Can I plant vegetables, including corn, in containers?
You can plant vegetables in just about any container, but trash cans are a great choice. Just make sure the container has adequate drainage holes for water to drain out (but soil to stay in). Fill the containers with clean topsoil. If you're reusing plant containers, throw out the old soil. Make sure you provide enough space for each plant. Here are some examples of space requirements: beans (bush), 6 inches; carrots (small varieties), 3 inches; corn (small varieties), 12 inches; cucumbers (small varieties), 12 inches; lettuce (small varieties), 8 inches; peppers, 18 inches; cherry tomatoes, 12 inches; tomatoes (small varieties), 24 inches. Use this soil mix to start: 1 part peat moss, 1 part vermiculite, 1 tablespoon dry 5-10-5 per 12-inch pot, 2 tablespoons dolomitic lime per 12-inch pot. Be sure to keep the soil evenly watered from the time seeds are sown, through the seedling stage, and after the plants have become established. It is essential that you feel the soil daily to see if watering is necessary. When the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch, water the plants thoroughly, until water runs through the drainage holes.
When should I prune my fig tree?
You need to prune only very young fig trees; established ones can be productive with or without heavy pruning. Avoid heavy winter pruning, which can cause the loss of the upcoming crop. It is best to prune immediately after harvesting the first crop of the season. If yours is a late-ripening variety, prune half the branches this summer and the remainder next summer.
Can I grow a mango tree indoors?
Yes, the seed of a mango can be nurtured into a slow-growing, leathery-leaved tree for your home. You can take the seed from the husk of the fruit. Scrape the fruit from the husk, then allow the seed to dry overnight. When dry, pry the husk open gently with a dull knife. Start the seed to germinating in a plastic bag filled with damp spaghum moss. Germination will take two to three weeks.
How often should I water squash for the best crop?
For all type of squash, frequent watering is recommended. For a five-foot row, 1 gallon of water is needed per week. Water most diligently when fruits form and throughout their growth period.
I'm intrigued by the idea of a cutting garden, but I'm uncertain how one keeps such a bed generating new flowers. Any advice?
Different gardeners have different ideas about what a cutting bed should be, but generally speaking, it consists of unpretentious rows of flowers, sometimes planted in a large vegetable garden, and the intent is that the flowers will be decimated. A cutting garden is best situated in some sunny, out-of-the-way spot. A skilled gardener will plan successive plantings to produce a steady supply of various cuttings as the summer progresses. Some good choices for cutting beds are taller, longer-stemmed, and not-so-neat varieties of flowers that work well in bouquets but can make a formal border look disheveled. They may be annuals, perennials, or a mix. Shasta daisies, feverfew, baby's breath, statice, zinnias, cosmos, strawflowers, poppies, delphiniums, sweet peas, and ornamental grasses are all good choices. Think of what you like in your bouquets, both as centerpiece flowers and as fillers. Cutting gardens are also prime locations for uninhibited experiments.